As of tomorrow, it will have been four years since an amazing Yachats vacation. Our family walked the beaches, sat on the sitting rock, made our way one more time down the forbidden access to the forbidden beach (shhhhhh I can't tell you where it is!)
We hiked trials, we ate on the beach, and Layne had a wonderful birthday. Now I knew, at that time, unless there was a miracle, it would be his last birthday. I nearly couldn't contain my tears...as he came happily out of the spa, where we had gifted him with a massage and time in a whirlpool overlooking the beach at the Overleaf.
He said it made his aching bones feel so much better, and he felt God in the room with him. Well, that's worth whatever we paid for it. I think back on that day, that glorious day, and I miss him.
I miss the man who was more than a dad, he was an example. He asked nothing he would not do himself, either from his kids or from his employees. And everyone respected him for that.
I miss him as a partner in life. He was more than a husband, he was again, an example. While I railed at God and screamed at him "How can you do this to us?" he said calmly..."He's here, and He has us."
I miss him as a friend. When people let us down--especially people for whom he had provided much, he said "It's okay, at least now we know who truly loved us and to whom "Let me know what we can do" is just nice words to make themselves feel better." It was Layne who coined the phrase, "Love is not a word, it's an action."
I miss him as a wise counselor. He often could see through people in ways I could not. He sensed when someone was going to harm us, and he sensed when people had needs..
I miss him as a man. He was a man's man. Always doing so much--I remember clearly when he picked up the car...and when he put a refrigerator in our Escort wagon... I remember him working 16-18 hours sleeping for four and going back in to work. He provided well, and he used his back and his wonderful hands to do that.
I miss him as the center of our family. I always knew that. I realized that I was part of the family, but he was the hub that we all revolved around. He kept the boys on the narrow path. He loved the girls, more than they would ever know. He kept the family working together, with all those different personalities and viewpoints.
I miss him mostly as part of me, part of my soul. We thought the same thoughts. We often completed one another's sentences. We believed the same. We would play a number game, and we nearly always could guess one another's numbers. Our faith was the same--we believed in being members of Christ's church not "a" church. We believed in teaching our own kids, not relying on a church to do it for us. We believed that Christ had came to make change, and that if there is no change, there is no evidence of Christ. We expected much of each other as Christians, and he held me to a strong and strict standard.
I miss him...and I honor him. For there will never be another Layne. He has put a piece of himself into five children. He has given them a love of fine woods, good people, doing for others and hard work. He has provided them an example that you can rise above whatever your circumstances, and you can create a life worth living. He has left in each of them a kindness and a wit, that is unmatched.
He would tell the kids, when their jokes went too long..."Brevity is the soul of wit." There was none more funny or witty than Layne. And truly, that may be why he was taken so soon. His life was brief, but it touched so many.
I was honored to be his wife and co-parent. I was honored to be lifted by his laughter and held always by his hand on the beach, and in life.
Happy Birthday to a man who spoiled me and loved me and the kids, above all others, except God. To Layne...who indeed, did tell us he was sick!